Doc Rivers ‘thrilled to death’ with Sixers ball movement against Knicks

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Ky Carlin
·3 min read
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The Philadelphia 76ers are a team that is still working out the kinks as they continue to grow as a basketball team, but on Saturday night, they took a nice step forward. The team was whipping the ball all over the floor and the team was able to get a lot of easy looks.

The Sixers starting unit struggled in the season opener, but Saturday night was a different story. Ben Simmons had six assists and each starter had at least two assists on their way to 20 for the game in a 109-89 win over the New York Knicks.

“I was thrilled to death with the first unit’s offense,” said coach Doc Rivers who moved into 10th place on the all-time coaching wins list. “I thought they moved the ball, and they played together and they made each other better tonight. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

It definitely helps that the team’s two stars are willing passers. Simmons is one of the better distributors in the NBA and he is a guy who opposing teams have to figure out how to stop. Now that he has shooters surrounding him, the Sixers are a tough team to handle offensively.

“At one point, it felt like the Harlem Globetrotters,” said Simmons with a laugh. “We’re passing the ball so much, movement, but it was good to see guys start blowing. We really turned up in that important part of the game. That’s how we got to play. Team basketball wins games and championships. It starts on defense for us. I think we definitely picked up that second rotation and came in had a slow start but they definitely picked it up also.”

Simmons did a terrific job on the defensive end against Knicks guard RJ Barrett, but he did set the tone on the offensive end as well and that is something that Rivers was happy with.

“On the other end, I thought, with the pace that he played and force actions, we got threes just because Ben Simmons pushed the ball up the floor, created actions in the paint, then kicked out the guys,” lauded Rivers. “I thought he was terrific tonight.”

Of course, now that the team has shooters such as Seth Curry and Danny Green as well as Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz off the bench, it makes passing the ball easier. It gives guys passing lanes to move the ball and that makes life easier for Joel Embiid who will be able to attack the double teams in a more confident way.

“I’m definitely more comfortable,” Embiid said. “Even when it comes to passing out of the double team. One thing I’m trying to improve this year is not turning the ball over. I think I had one today, and it was at the end right before I got out. I was disappointed.”

The reason why he barely turned the ball over is due to the fact that the Knicks could not leave Curry and Green. If they do, it’s an open 3-pointer for them.

“It’s definitely making me comfortable and it’s also helping my game, because now you know if you want to double, I dare you,” the big fella added. “We’re gonna knock down those shots and if you let me play one on one, it’s a bucket or a foul.”

The Sixers will move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday to finish a quick two-game road trip.

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Boston
+165+4.5-
Philadelphia
-200-4.5-